A food and wine business incubator, 33entrepeneurs, that is backed by the owners of Chateau Lynch-Bages has expanded its search to the US and Canada, after investing in four start-ups in Europe.

Jean-Charles Cazes of Chateau Lynch-Bages, who is part of the fund.

News that the Bordeaux-based private equity consortium has expanded its search to 10 cities across North America, from Montreal to Los Angeles, came as it began its first three-month training programme with four European start-ups.

Those chosen for the scheme include a young company that has designed a ‘virtual sommelier’ system and a firm that has devised a gadget that can be fixed to wine barrels to monitor what is happening to the contents during vinification.

The other two include a platform that allows consumers to find a wine available locally that can match the food they’re eating, plus a search engine for the so-called ‘sharing economy’, which includes services like AirBnB or Uber.

Those four companies, which were found following 20 competitions held across Europe, will be given access to development and pitch training, with mentoring from industry professionals such as Jean-Charles Cazes and Jean-Louis Triaud. They will also receive an initial investment of 15,000 euros and a potential further investment of 150,000 to 300,000 euros, with 33entrepeneurs taking a stake in the companies of up to 3.5% in return.

From 2016, 33entrepreneurs expects to run two programmes per year, helping up to 12 start-up companies each time.

‘There are around 500 wine starts ups globally,’ 33entrepeneurs founder Vincent Pretet told Decanter.com. ‘Around half of them are located in the US. We want to create a global network of entrepeneurs and to invest in the most promising ones, so it is essential to reach out to the US.’

‘We are to date the only business incubator specifically targeting gastronomy and wine startups, which means our location in Bordeaux makes perfect sense, giving them access to expert industry advice in the world capital of wine.’

(Editing by Chris Mercer)

Written by Jane Anson